Chance to influence Ballarat’s recreation future

July 9th, 2024Chance to influence Ballarat’s recreation future

The City of Ballarat is preparing for the future of sporting facilities by outlining a 15-year plan to ensure the municipality’s recreation infrastructure keeps up with forecasted population growth.

The City of Ballarat is preparing for the future of sporting facilities by outlining a 15-year plan to ensure the municipality’s recreation infrastructure keeps up with forecasted population growth.

The Draft Recreation Infrastructure Plan 2024-2039 is now open for public exhibition, having been endorsed by Ballarat City Council at its June meeting.

The plan is designed to guide future planning and investment in sport and recreation facilities, addressing the needs of our growing community over the next 15 years.

The plan aims to provide a strategic framework for developing and maintaining active open space assets on City of Ballarat-owned or managed land.

The road map within the plan lists over 70 sporting venues or projects that will be considered for delivery in the next 15 years, identifying what year those projects will be scheduled subject to the council’s annual budget process.  

The plan will facilitate and guide the council’s ongoing advocacy for external government funding opportunities.  

It will be reviewed every two years to ensure needs are being met and priority projects remain relevant.

With Ballarat’s population projected to grow by over 50,000 residents by 2041, existing recreation facilities are nearing capacity.  

Detailed demand modelling indicates significant shortfalls in various sports facilities by 2036, including deficits in AFL fields, basketball courts, cricket fields, soccer fields, hockey fields, and tennis courts.  

The plan outlines strategies to address these gaps through enhancements to existing facilities and the development of new ones in growth areas.  

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said having a clear roadmap for the next 15 years was vital to ensure Ballarat’s facilities continue to meet demand, are provided across all sports equitably and remain at a standard expected by the community.

“We have invested significantly in our sporting facilities for a number of years now, because the benefits of people playing sport are so significant,” Cr Hudson said.

“There is always more work to do though, so having a clear plan that the community can see shows that our commitment is unwavering.

“We know the Ballarat population is growing and the need for diverse sporting infrastructure is going to accompany that population growth.”

Some of the major projects identified in the plan include:  

  • State Government Regional Sports Infrastructure Program: Expansion of Mars Stadium, a new regional athletics facility, upgrades to the Ballarat Sports Events Centre (BSEC), and developments at Miners Rest Sporting Reserve and Frank Bourke Oval.
  • Indoor stadiums: An eight-court indoor stadium at Winterfield North in the Ballarat West Growth Zone and the proposed increase in indoor court provision to service the Ballarat North Growth Zone.
  • Growth areas: New reserves in Ballarat West and North, including facilities at Greenhalghs Reserve and Glenelg Highway Reserve.
  • Regional facilities: Enhancements to Prince of Wales Park, including a new regional hockey facility, and expansions to Len T Fraser Reserve Skate Park and other renewal or enhancements to sports facilities including badminton, table tennis, tennis and soccer.

The draft plan has been developed through consultation with state sporting associations, local sports clubs, leagues and associations, and City of Ballarat departments.  

A survey also helped gather further feedback, highlighting critical facility provision gaps and community priorities.  

The community is now encouraged to review the Draft Recreation Infrastructure Plan 2024-2039 and provide feedback during the public exhibition period.

Feedback closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 21 July and may be provided via the City of Ballarat’s My Say page online where the plan can also be found in full.

The final Recreation Infrastructure Plan 2024-2039 is expected to return to the council for adoption in August. 

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